“Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit within you and bring it about that you walk in My statutes, and are careful and follow My ordinances.”
– Ezekiel 36:26-27
We all have sinned, and continue to sin.
We all need renewal.
Why would God renew us? Love.
Yes, God loves us, and without that love, He would not even make a way for us to be restored (John 3:16); He would simply snap His fingers and reset everything.
His love and grace allow the way for us to be restored. We are all familiar with that.
Yet on the other hand, there is a paradox that few are familiar with. God has three other very compelling reasons to renew us. Ezekiel 36:22-23 tells us...
“Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘This is what the Lord GOD says: “It is not for your sake, house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for My holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you went. And I will vindicate the holiness of My great name which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned among them. Then the nations will know that I am the LORD,” declares the Lord GOD, “when I show Myself holy among you in their sight.”
1. He is not renewing them for their sake, but firstly, 'for My holy name'.
He is a holy God. He will not allow our profanity (sinful behaviour) to tarnish His name.
And who carries His name? We do.
2. And the second reason is for His glory, to 'show Myself holy in their sight'.
He is glorifying Himself, not because He is an egomaniac, but because the truth simply is that He is the only Being worthy of glory.
3. Verses 31-32 of the same chapter gives us the third reason:
"Then you will remember your evil ways and your deeds that were not good, and you will loathe yourselves in your own sight for your wrongdoings and your abominations. I am not doing this for your sake,” declares the Lord GOD; “let that be known to you. Be ashamed and humiliated for your ways, house of Israel!”
Ezekiel 36:31-32 NASB2020
It is so that we may remember what we've done and loathe ourselves for it. Sounds very un-Christian right? The difference is that now we are in the new covenant, and through Jesus, we remember what HE has done instead, then love (not loathe) ourselves in response to having been renewed.
It's not a contradiction; it's a paradox. There are multiple ideas that coexist in tension.
You may think, 'Oh I'm too far from God now to be renewed.' But remember that for as long as we carry His name, we can be renewed. As long as we still believe and are therefore His children. Because His name is holy, and He is a God who will bring glory to Himself.
We simply need to receive His renewal. God is a gentleman and won't force us to take what we won't.